Seasonic Platinum SS-1050XP3 & SS-1200XP3 Power Supply Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on September 3, 2014 6:00 PM EST
- Posted in
- 80Plus Platinum
Externally, both units are nearly identical, with the sole exception being the sticker with the specifications table on the left side of the chassis. The 190mm long chassis will most likely be too long for small cases, but these units are definitely not designed for compact systems. Seasonic's designs usually are subtle but the company has performed several modifications to enhance the aesthetic value of their top-tier units.
The circular fan guard has been replaced with a rectangular grey panel, with a honeycomb mesh pattern and a badge with the company logo on it. Seasonic added decorative engravings and printed the company and series logos on the right side of the chassis, where they will most likely be invisible, as they will be facing the right side panel of most cases. For these engravings to be visible from a windowed left side panel, the PSU will have to be installed with the fan facing upwards. If the fan is facing downwards, the decorations will also be upside down, so they are best left out of sight. On the left side of the chassis, the side that is visible from windowed side panels, Seasonic placed a sticker with the specifications of the PSU.
A typical C14 receptacle can be seen at the perforated rear side of the units, next to a large on/off switch. The front of the units is filled with connectors for the modular cables and there also is a switch that can change the fan's profile from normal to hybrid mode. The hybrid mode is a quieter thermal profile and allows the fan to be turned off entirely when it's not necessary. Finally, the company and series logos are printed here as well.
Seasonic went with a San Ace 9S1212H403 120mm fan in both of their newest models. It is a very powerful fan, with a top rated speed of 2700RPM. The specifications of the bearing/engine are not available from the manufacturer, but it looks like Sanyo uses a form of self-lubricating sleeve bearing. The life expectancy of this fan is 40,000 hours, a rather mediocre rating for similar devices, but it also translates to about 4.5 years of 24/7 use at 60°C, albeit this rating also is for a free, unobstructed air path (zero static pressure, max airflow).
Seasonic designs and builds their own units so there is no secondary / hidden OEM behind their Platinum series; these PSUs are entirely in-house productions. Both units share the exact same platform and design, with the obvious difference being only the ratings of both the passive and active components. For example, the 1050W version has three Nippon Chemi-Con 330μF capacitors at the PFC stage, whereas the 1200W version has three 390μF capacitors of the same type installed there. Aside from the component ratings however, the two versions do not have a discernible design difference.
The filtering components at the back of the AC receptacle are shielded in an effort to reduce EMI. The total number of filtering components is six Y capacitors, four X capacitors, and three filtering inductors, more than adequate for a strong filtering stage, even for units of this size. Moving towards the APFC stage, we can see the two bridge rectifiers on their own small heatsink, followed by a sizable APFC coil and three capacitors from Nippon Chemi-Con.
The active PFC components are on the long heatsink near the edge of the PCB, while the smaller heatsink towards the center of the unit holds the four transistors that form the full-bridge inversion stage. Two square heatsinks cool the active components of the secondary conversion stage, which are not directly attached to the heatsinks but are on the rear of the PCB. Nippon Chemi-Con supplies all of the secondary side capacitors as well, electrolytic and solid alike, making these units an all-Japanese affair.
When it comes to build quality, Seasonic has an excellent reputation for designing and building top-quality products; these two units however surprised us. Seasonic is definitely using top-tier components, some of the best that can be found in a consumer-grade product. The soldering job is excellent as well and we could not find a single bad joint or weak point. What confounded us however is that the assembly of the Platinum units is rather messy, which is a first for Seasonic.
It is not bad, not even average, but it does not live up to the standards Seasonic themselves have set. There are cables pressing against components and many electrolytic capacitors appear to have received mechanical force after they have been soldered on the board, tilting them left and right. Even the glue appears to have been spilt carelessly and purposelessly, as there are spots where it does not even touch the components it is supposed to. If this was true for just one sample, we could consider the possibility of it being an "isolated case", but both of the samples that we received share these flaws, so it is not random. Perhaps these are just pre-production or early samples, and we hope so, but we've seen better attention to detail in previous Seasonic units.
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SodaAnt - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkI still tend to be slightly annoyed at the low efficiencies with high power PSUs at around 5% load or 50-75W. I noticed the article even said "Obviously using a 1200W PSU to drive a 60W load on a regular basis would be rather odd, so in most use cases the efficiency will be much higher." However, I don't really think that's true. Maybe that would have been the case 5 years ago, but now even monster rigs will easily use less than 100W when they are just idle at the desktop, which is a surprising amount of time. Further, there's quite a large subset of users that get a 1200W power supply, yet use it in a build with a single GPU and CPU, merely because they think they might upgrade later.
In short, efficiencies at the low end should be higher.
LtGoonRush - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - link76% efficiency at 5% load is EXTREMELY efficient, especially for a high-current power supply. There's a certain minimal overhead to power the electrical conversion hardware, and while it doesn't affect semi-passive models, the fan alone can account for 5% or more of efficiency losses at 50W draw. This overhead is also affected by the capacity of the power supply, as larger or parallel components increase overhead. The fact that a 1050W power supply is only wasting 12W of power at low load is quite respectable, and means that any improvements would have very minimal benefit.
SodaAnt - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkI think that wasting 12W of power at low load is actually quite a lot, mainly because the time scale is different. I'd say at least for my use case, 70% of the time is spent basically idling (internet browsing, writing a word doc, email, etc) or just not even using the computer at all. Especially for users who don't bother to turn off their computer, the 12W loss starts to add up pretty quick. I know its not easy to do, but I feel that because its not part of the spec for 80 plus, not very much effort is going into making improvements.
RaistlinZ - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkI think you expect too much. Anyone buying this is likely building a high-power overclocked rig, and wouldn't be spending much time at 5% power draw anyway. I also doubt the time, money, and effort into making PSU's 90%> efficient at 0-5% power draw is worth it from a manufacturing standpoint anyway.
fokka - Thursday, September 4, 2014 - linkjust because people are overclocking and gaming for a couple hours every day doesn't mean the close-to-idle times are negligable. people will still browse the web, write an email or watch a video or two.
i'm not saying the inefficiencies at idle have to amount to a big loss compared to running a 1kw-pc at full load, but taken for itself it's still enough to power a complete low powered computer.
i don't know about the engineering/physics side of things, but i'd say idle efficiency is still something manufacturers should look to improve.
Kutark - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - linkThe point is primarily that there is a minimum overhead that is needed to operate a power supply, and reducing that overhead is extremely difficult and in the end is not worth it. For example, if it takes say 12w of overhead, reducing that by 25% would basically put you at 9w. The return for the effort is simply not worth it (increased component costs, engineering/design costs, etc). Not many people would pay say a 10% price premium just to have the 5% load efficiency be 10% better so they can save basically save $6 a year in electricity costs.
I've honestly never understood why people can't seem to pick their battles with these things. I always love when i would see people get into arguments here over a HDD that uses 8.2w instead of another one thats say 9.6w because its a 15% difference and thats massive! Well the reality is, its 1.4w. Now, in a corporate SAN environment where you might have say 500 of these drives in an array, yeah, 15% is a big deal. But to a home user who might have at most 2 of these drives in their computer, you're talking about $4/yr in electricity costs.
Pick your battles.
dealcorn - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkIf you use your over-clocking rig to browse the Internet you are wasting lots more than 12W. Get a petite, passively cooled Bay Trail desktop for browsing. Save the big rig for when you need the horsepower.
rarson - Sunday, September 21, 2014 - linkSpend several hundred extra dollars to save a few bucks a year? That doesn't make any sense at all.
surt - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkWhy does any power supply need to run a fan at 50w draw. Even if you're only 50% efficient at that load, you shouldn't need to actively cool 25w. If that's your overhead, just start the fan later.
Samus - Thursday, September 4, 2014 - linkI want to chime in and agree with the OP here. Any PSU over 600W is going to be inherently inefficient at idle in many PC's.
Below are my overclocked i5-4790 PC's individual power draw specifications taken with my Fluke multimeter, GW INSTEK GDS-122 oscilloscope using additive\deductive component elimination to calculate these measurements at idle within a reasonable margin of error using a PC Power & Cooling 750-QUAD 80-Plus PSU (which is really irrelevant since I am measuring current draw and using ohms law to convert into watts - the PSU has no bearing on the components individual power consumption.) However there is no reliable way to measure below 1 watt so the individual minimum component draw is such.
Core i5 4690K @ 4500MHz 1.210v draws 12.8w at idle (FIVR reported via CoreTemp)
2x8GB Crucial LPDDR3 @ 1600MHz 9-9-9 1.35v memory draws 3.2w at idle
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD 1.0w at idle
Seagate 4TB 5900RPM 2.8w at idle
WD 2TB 5200RPM (2.5") 1.7w at idle
ASRock H87M-ITX measured via ATX connection 3.3+5.0+12.0 deduction 17.5w at idle
EVGA nVidia Geforce 780Ti 3GB clocked 1025/7400 1.189v 22.8w at idle
Total system draw before PSU efficiency loss is 62 watts. Since my PSU is only 75% efficient at 5-10% load, like most PSU's, my total system idle measured at the wall (with a somewhat accurate kill-a-watt) is 85 watts.
However, I need a 750-watt PSU as my load power consumption can surprisingly eclipse 600-watts at full CPU + GPU load and I want to remain below the 80% load barrier where the PSU lifespan is shortened, temperatures and noise escalate and efficiency can REALLY take a dive.
I think more attention needs to be taken with PSU efficiency at low idle state. There are various ways to do this, the most practical implementation being a dual stage power delivery circuit for different loads. Basically it would be a switching PSU inside a switching PSU, and it wouldn't be very expensive to produce because the first stage (lets say 0-100w) would be a very basic CLASS V, then there would be a voltage regulator and relay system that switches to the next stage with a supercap to isolate any voltage drop while switching.
I'm surprised nobody has done this yet. Should I patent it?